With equity markets touching all-time highs the media is speculating about when the bubble might burst. In the USA, the S & P 500 index of shares has returned positive growth for each of the past six years. On 10th March 2009 the index stood at 719.60 and by 10th March 2015 it had risen to 2044.16 – growth of 184%.
An index has never returned positive numbers for seven consecutive years so it is speculated, equity markets must fall this year. There are a great many reasons why.
The geopolitical situation is fraught and the world is a far more dangerous place now. We have civil war in the Ukraine; the annexation of the Crimea by Russia; unrest in the Middle East and the emergence if ISIS. The European banking and sovereign debt crisis continues apace and while Ireland is making great strides, it looks like Greece is much closer to exit from the Euro.
Meanwhile, equity markets are ignoring all the noise and continuing on their merry way. The fact is nobody knows what equity markets will do in the future other than in the works of John Paul Getty, ‘markets will fluctuate’.
For that reason, if you are someone who has taken professional investment advice; has had your risk rating assessed; has set out your investment objectives; has a clear time line to achieve them; has invested your funds in a balanced portfolio that will maintain risk exposure to agreed limits, then you have nothing to worry about.
Equities will always rise and fall, that is their nature and that will be built into your plan. There will also be other asset classes that will perform and overall you should remain invested and not worry about where markets might go.
On the other hand, if you don’t know what you are invested in or why; what your investment objectives and attitude to risk are, then, as the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said, “if you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what road you take because any road will take you there.”